Channel: Before The 'D'...Association Football around the world, 1863-1937.
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British coaches in the Copa


The development of Spanish Football was always heavily influenced by Britons. As was so often the case they founded the earliest clubs and spread the enthusiasm for the Association game among the locals.
English players (and officials) were very much in evidence in the formative years of the game in Spain. In the 1910s, when the game was more solidly established and less and less English names appeared on the teamsheets, Englishmen showed their influence in another sphere- appearing as coaches at the leading Spanish clubs.
Looking at the teams competing in the Copa del Rey (and later the Copa del Presidente de la República) shows us the following coaches from the United Kingdom.

Athletic Club (Bilbao) defeated Madrid FC (later Real Madrid) 4-0 in the final. Both teams were led by Englishmen.


Billy Barnes was at the helm for Athletic. Born in London in 1879 Barnes played for Thames Ironworks, Sheffield United, West Ham United, Luton Town, Queen's Park Rangers and Southend United.
He scored the winning goal for Sheffield United in the replay of the 1902 FA Cup Final.
He managed Athletic from 1914 to 1916 and again from 1920-21.

The man in charge of Madrid FC was Arthur Johnson. He was Madrid's first full time coach. Appointed in 1910, he served until 1920. He had also been a player with the club, appearing in their first ever fixture and played in 4 winning Copa del Rey teams. Johnson, who was also born in 1879, later managed Athletic Club.

Madrid beat Arenas Club de Guecho in extra time of the replayed final, giving Arthur Johnson a Copa win as a coach to add to his 4 as a player.

Johnson led Madrid to a third successive Copa final, but they lost 2-0 to Real Unión.


Barcelona were beaten 5-2 in the final by Arenas Club de Guecho. 
The manager  of Barcelona was the former Crook Town wing half Jack Greenwell.  Greenwell had also played in the West Aukland team that won the Sir Thomas Lipton Trophy in 1909. 
He joined Barcelona as a player in 1912, became coach in 1917.six Catalan titles and two Copa del Rey victories.
As well as 2 spells at Barcelona Greenwell coached Unió Esportiva Sants, Club Deportivo Castellón,  Español, R.C.D Mallorca, Valencia, and Real Sporting de Gijón. He then moved on to Peru. 

Greenwell and Barnes were the adversaries as Barcelona beat Athletic Club 2-0 in the final. 

Barnes was in charge of Athletic Club , who ran out 4-0 winners against Atlético Madrid. Some sources mistakenly identify the manager of the Madrid side as former Manchester United defender Vince Hayes However, Hayes was engaged at Preston North End until 1923. 

Another win for Greenwell- Barcelona beating Real Union 5-1.

Athletic Club won their ninth  Copa, beating Barcelona's Club Deportivo Europe 1-0. Both sides were led by Englishmen.
Fred Pentland won 5 England caps in 1909 (including 3 on a tour of Austria-Hungary) and played most of his  League football for Blackburn Rovers and Middlesbrough. he was interned at Ruhleben during the war, having gone to Germany to coach the national side. After the war his managerial career resumed, following a rather strange trajectory- he led France in the 1920 Olympics and retired as manager of Barrow 20 years later. in the interim he had spells coaching Racing  SantanderAthletic Club Bilbao (2 ), Atlético Madrid (3) and Real Oviedo. 

In charge of  Club Deportivo Europe was Conyers 'Ralph' Kirby, a winger who made 1 league appearance for Birmingham. He later joined Barcelona. 

Real Unión Club (Irun) beat Real Madrid 1-0 in the final.Real Unión Club was coached by Steve Bloomer, the legendary Derby County and England goalscorer. 
Steve Bloomer

Barcelona beat Atlético Madrid 3-2 in the final, which featured the same managers as 1923- Kirby leading Barcelona and Pentland Atlético.

Spain was now a Republic, and the national cup competition was rebranded as Copa del Presidente de la República. A final between Athletic Club (who won their 12th Copa with a 1-0 win) and Barcelona saw 2 by now familiar faces in charge. Pentland (Athletic Club) and Greenwell (Barca). 

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